Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Funding available to set up new child care centres

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today encouraged child care providers across Australia to apply for a share of the $12.8 million funding to help meet the growing demand for child care places.

“Applications are now open for funding under the Long Day Care Incentive Scheme. This funding, provided under the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, will help both community based non-profit and private operators establish at least 25 new long day care centres, offering 1,000 extra places.

“Families living in some rural communities and urban fringe areas of Australia do not have access to child care services. This funding will offer short term incentives for operators to open long day care centres in these areas and will ensure the viability of the service while they build their client base and utilisation rates to sustainable levels.

“The Scheme will also support operators to supply places for families with children under two years by providing a higher subsidy per place for that age group.

“Applications from community and private providers will close on 23 June 2004. Services looking to apply can receive applications on ph 1300 653 227.

“The Australian Government is committed to helping families balance their work and family commitments. The recent Budget included an additional $251 million over five years for child care. This comes on top of a record allocation of around $8.5 billion for child care for the next four years.

“Initiatives included an addition 40,000 Outside School Hours Care places and 4,000 Family Day Care places to meet demand. This takes Government funded Outside School Hours Care places to around 270,000 and Family Day Care places to more than 72,500.

“The Government will also increase the rate of Child Care Benefit from 5 July 2004 by 2.4 per cent. This will lift the maximum assistance per week for families using full-time child care from $137.00 to $140.50 for one child, from $286.35 to $293.65 for two children and from $446.96 to $458.32 for three children.

“Since 2000, the Australian Government has increased the rate of Child Care Benefit by more than 15 per cent.

“The Australian Government has a strong record on providing families with more child care options. However, all this good work stands to be undone with the election of a Labor Government. They have so far refused to outline their plans for child care and I think families deserve to know what they propose,” Mr Anthony said.